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 Blog » City fans demand investigation after stewarding incident

 14 Comments- Add comment | Back to Blog Written on 17-Oct-2011 by malcylon

Mario Balotelli scored a fantastic opener against Aston Villa on Saturday, only for the game to take a twist off the pitch that is only now becoming clear. As City looked to build on their 1-0 advantage, the flow on the pitch was lost as fans around the ground became concerned at events taking place in the East Stand

Speculation abounded in other parts of the Etihad stadium that a stray away fan may have been identified and held responsible for the activity, which prompted a number of stewards and police officers to surround block 109 in the East Stand.

Footage released on YouTube was the first shocking indication that the incident was actually completely avoidable. An older fan, complaining of a heart condition, appears to be singled out as part of the ongoing standing debate at the club.

The reaction of Manchester City and Showsec, the stewarding company, so far is alarming. The Manchester Evening News reported a City spokesman as saying, “A supporter who was persistently standing was politely asked to sit down by stewards, following complaints from supporters. After refusing to co-operate with the stewards, the police intervened to help eject the man.

"The man refused to leave, prompting a small number of surrounding supporters to become aggressive to both the stewards and the police. The man in question was evicted and a further two men were arrested for assault."

This response masks a much deeper suspicion that has angered fans as to the apparent singling out of an older, apparently vulnerable, City fan who has no doubt been a life-long supporter of the club through thick and thin.

Showsec have issued the following statement, “Showsec’s operational role at Manchester City Football Club falls within the club’s match day operation. In this instance we were directed by the club to eject a supporter for persistent standing, which contravenes the ground regulations and followed repeated complaints from other supporters in the area.

The ejection was carried out in line with the club’s policy and upon the gentleman’s refusal to leave the ground we requested the support of Greater Manchester Police in order complete the process. The company will continue to support the policies of the club and any eschewing investigations.”

This statement does at least confirm that it was the Club that sanctioned the ejection of this supporter.

So the following questions must be answered:

  • what was the process followed that led to the singling out of an older, vulnerable, fan from the ground when so many others in the block and in the away end were also standing?  what records are kept of such decisions and what governance is in place to review them at board level?

  • what communications took place between the control room and the stewards in the block before, during, and after the incident, especially once the fan had advised his heart condition?

  • what investigations are now underway at the club in order to give all parties a fair hearing in this matter?

The Football Supporters Federation (FSF) confirmed to MCFCfans that they have been deluged with phone calls, e-mails, and contact from angry fans since the incident. The FSF chairman is now likely to take up an earlier offer to meet the club, and fans can provide Amanda Jacks, who deals with Policing & Stewarding with statements if they witnessed what happened (contact details avaialble on the FSF website here), anonymously if requested.,

We can only hope that the discontent generated by this shocking incident do not spill over into tomorrow evening with its special singing stand arrangements.  With the world watching, all supporters would be well-advised to rise above it and enjoy the game tomorrow night in the knowledge that formal representations are clearly being made on behalf of the fans.

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Comments

  • written on 17-Oct-2011

    NATO. Sponsoring genocide says:

    Couldn`t agree more. Alarming is exactly what it is.

  • written on 18-Oct-2011

    Alphie Izzett says:

    Older?
    Vulnerable?


    What is there about "Sit down Sir or you will be ejected from the ground" that is so difficult to understand?

    Deaf maybe?

    I am older and cannot stand for moe than a few moments and if someone persistently stood in front of me I would request intervention from a Steward. Their job is difficult and they sometimes have to put up with ignorance and abuse. I don't know what this incident was all about but I'm fairlyn sure thee is more to it than this simplistic and one sided article.

  • written on 18-Oct-2011

    CiTyBlUe [http://thisisourcitymanchester.blogspot.com/] says:

    We all know we general public have a love hate relationship with the police, afterall they are no different than we are in making mistakes etc but.

    We have to keep an open mind as it was only a small gathering of City fans in support of the guy and whe tensions are high some do not think before they act.

    Apparently he has been given a lifetime ban by the club, as well as that there is talk he faked his heart problem and that he has been banned from many pubs around Manchester for causing trouble.

    I am not saying this is all true but I think it is best if we all wait for Statements from the club and GMP and hope we get the full story before we jump the gun.

  • written on 18-Oct-2011

    paul keys says:

    Alphie izzett

    you clearly do not know the city ground, the section where the fan was singled out is the east stand corner singing section where all the supporters do stand if you didn't wish to stand you would transfer to somewhere else but somehow i think such a grump wouldn't be in the singing section to start with . and before anyone says it yes standing may contravene regulations but a blind eye has been taken to that section and the adjoining away supporters section so the incident of singling out the unfortunate individual was indeed a random one perhaps by somebody new to the job . whatever we don't need this type of stewarding as it provokes rather than prevents

    thank you

  • written on 18-Oct-2011

    mike says:

    its the fact that everyone else around him were stood up and when the stewards actually got to the man he was sat down whilst everyone else was still standing and they still chose to try and drag him out of his seat. they were trying to make an example out of him.

  • written on 18-Oct-2011

    eric catterall says:

    I to am a senior,and the three guys in front of me stand up from the moment they arrive. I have no alternative but to stand, I pay for a seat could i request a refund??

  • written on 18-Oct-2011

    malcylon says:

    Great comments on what is an emotive issue.

    What inspired me to write it was that so far only the MEN has covered it as well, and I witnessed a similar situation at Crystal Palace in the Carling Cup not long ago when SWP scored and City fans entered the field of play. One young fan with Aspergers Syndrome was singled out among a bigger group just because he was the easy catch. In spite of the desperate pleas of his father about his son's condition, the young kid was man-handled and roughed up to the point of having a major fit.

    All too often the follow-up after these incidents is swept under the carpet when the paying public deserve to a) be heard; and b) have a full and proper explanation of events. Highlighting the incident hopefully promotes more transparency. So far Showsec and the club have issued statements, and neither tell the story.

    I definitely take the point about balance in the article. The club and the stewards have a difficult balance to strike when enforcing rules, regulations, and policy around sitting down. Someone being asked to sit down and then asked to leave because they don't is potentially asking to be ejected.

    But questions should still be asked or those in authority will feel that there is nothing holding them to account. Who knows what might have happened had YouTube not been in existence?

    Does anyone feel that some leadership is required by the club in communicating to block 109? My understanding is that it is not officially in the singing section, but that many fans moved to 109 in order to be close to the singing section. Confusion has also been generated by mixed messages and approaches taken to standing in the block.

    Tonight will be interesting.

  • written on 18-Oct-2011

    malcylon says:

    Which block are you in Eric?

  • written on 18-Oct-2011

    malcylon says:

    Investigation launched quite rightly. The FSF should be present when they meet the supporter.

    http://menmedia.co.uk/manchestereveningnews/n ... dium?

  • written on 18-Oct-2011

    Lol says:

    This was in block 109, where me and my family have our season tickets. There has been an ongoing battle over standing and it became apparent on saturday that the stewards were trying a new tactic - there was a lot more of them, but they did not ask anyone to sit down, they singled this gentleman out to make an example of him and then they lost control and became aggressive when the man refused to leave. The entire block was angered at the heavy handed tactics and those nearby tried to step in. These were not 'thugs' or 'trouble causers', they were ordinary supporters who were outraged by the shocking way in which this situation was handled.
    Time to take a referandum City, I am positive that the majority in block 109 want to stand and give the blues their full support.

  • written on 18-Oct-2011

    malcylon says:

    That's the kind of thing I'm hearing from others in 109. Did you receive a letter from the club about standing?

    Some have mentioned that there are a few fans in 109 who are complaining about the standing, but it does sound like the majority want to stand.

    The problem is where does it end? Do fans on the edges of 108/107 (or whatever the next block is) start standing because they can't see past 109 if it is standing?

  • written on 18-Oct-2011

    Joe says:

    i was sat 2 seatsbehind the man, no-one complained for him to sit down, he was wrongly singled out as i was against swansea and i got ejected. From then on the police pulled and screamed at the man, if you watch the video on yotube you can clearly see this, the police man also bumped into my 8 year old nephew and when i told him he nearly knocked a child over, he replied with " why dont you get out of the ground then ". If you could of seen what was actually happening too the man you could understand why others were so upset. As for Alphie the people infront and behind were both stood up which made picking this man out a disgrace !

  • written on 18-Oct-2011

    dhc says:

    why do we bother spending money and time attending the games if we are going to treated like this?

  • written on 19-Oct-2011

    Slacker says:

    "the police man also bumped into my 8 year old nephew and when i told him he nearly knocked a child over, he replied with " why dont you get out of the ground then ". "

    I hope you got his collar number and made a complain against the scumbag.

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